Golf Roundup : Lopez Shoots Final-Round 66, Wins LPGA Title

From Associated Press

At the start of Sunday's final round of the LPGA Championship at Mason, Ohio, Ayako Okamoto held a two-stroke lead in her pursuit to win her first major title on the women's tour.

But she was anything but confident considering she had fallen victim to golf's fickleness on past occasions.

Her worse fears were realized once again when Nancy Lopez won her third LPGA Championship--all at the Jack Nicklaus Sports Center Grizzly Course--with a final-round six-under-par 66, overtaking Okamoto on the final eight holes to win by three shots.

The victory was the 40th of Lopez' 13-year professional career.

"Nancy is No. 1. . . . " Okamoto said.

Okamoto, who has been in or near the lead in the final round of the last five LPGA Championships, said she was not surprised to be overtaken.

"I knew that Nancy--or somebody--would catch up after the turn," she said. "A one- or two-stroke lead isn't much over those players."

Lopez has won more than $157,000 on the Jack Nicklaus Sports Center course in her 11 LPGA Championships. She lived on the course for two years.

"It's hard to compare them," she said of her three LPGA victories. "All have been special for me. The first year (as a rookie in 1978), being so young, winning with my dad here and all of that pressure at such a young age--it meant a lot."

Lopez finished at 14-under-par 274 after earlier rounds of 71, 69 and 68. Her closing 66 was the low round of the day.

The victory was Lopez' fifth top-10 finish in the LPGA Championship. It was her first victory of 1989 and made her the top money-winner with more than $279,000. She has finished in the top three in eight of her 10 tournaments this year.

Okamoto's closing 71 gave her a 277 total.

Susan Sanders, a non-winner in five years on the tour, closed with a 68 to finish third at 278.

Pat Bradley, who won the LPGA Championship in 1986, shot a 73 for 283, tied with non-winner Allison Finney.

Jane Geddes, the 1987 LPGA Championship winner, was at 284 with a final-round 71. Patty Sheehan closed with a 78 for 285.

Ian Baker-Finch of Australia was given breathing room by the double bogey that struck down Tim Simpson on the 14th hole and cruised to a four-stroke victory in the Colonial National Invitation tournament at Ft. Worth, Tex.

Baker-Finch needed only a closing round of par 70 to become the first wire-to-wire winner on the PGA Tour this year.

David Edwards, nine strokes back when play began, took second with a 65 for a 274 total, and Simpson, one stroke closer when play started, finished with a 68 for 276 and was tied for third with South African David Frost, who had a closing 69.

Bob Charles shot a five-under-par 65 to defend his title in the $300,000 Commemorative Seniors tournament, breaking his tournament record with a 17-under-par 193 total for 54 holes.

Charles, who had a four-stroke lead entering play Sunday, saw it narrowed to two by Don Bies when he bogeyed the par-4 eighth hole. He recovered to win by five shots.

It was Charles' third tour victory this year. He has earned $45,000 to boost his 1989 earnings to $184,137.

Holly Hartley of Oceanside shot a one-under-par 71 and Taiwan's Huang Bie-shyun slumped to a 76 to give Hartley a two-stroke victory in the Chukyo TV-Bridgestone tournament at Kasugai, Japan.

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